28 April 2012

My Personal Experience with Vitamin P

Last week I was talking to my boyfriend about some aspect of Israeli society and I mentioned protekzia, commonly known as Vitamin P. My boyfriend is like, What's that? What's protekzia? So, I told him this story...

Last winter, I was interviewing for an internship at a Wisconsin publication that shall remain nameless...unless you happen to ask me. The interview was like, Oh, ehhhh, even before it started. I arrived and was immediately condescended to by the receptionist; the interviews were running late; some office dude would be sitting in on my interview with the hiring manager--as if I weren't nervous enough to make a good impression; and the hiring manager was, let us say, a bit frosty. I think everyone knows the feeling of an interview intractably, intractably, going south...to the Bermuda Triangle of lost causes. Right? So, I was getting that feeling. But doggedly, doggedly, I kept trying to stay optimistic and maybe pull off some kind of turnaround.

Then, I was showing the hiring manager a piece I'd written for Bitch. And the hiring manager was like, "How'd you get published in Bitch magazine?" And I just did not like her tone. By that point, I was like, This isn't going well. I don't think I'm getting this internship. And then I had a stroke of inspiration for answering her question. "There's this word in Hebrew," I drawled. "Protekzia. It means 'connections.'" (This did rather distill the process of that piece's publication pretty neatly.) Some office dude sitting in on my interview let out a little bark of laughter. The hiring manager, however, was not nearly as amused.

Recounting this vignette aloud to last week, I was like: "Omigod, I actually said that." Quel chutzpah! But sometimes, truly, if you've got it, you flaunt it.

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